Election 2022: Morrison promises more than $100 million to fix mobile blackspots and connectivity issues in urban fringes

Scott Morrison blackspots

Scott Morrison. Source: AAP/Mick Tsikas.

The latest LNP election pitch to people living on the ‘urban fringes of major cities’ is more than $28 million to address mobile phone blackspots across 66 locations nationwide.

Scott Morrison announced the funding on Thursday morning, declaring his government was committed to improving the lives of people in outer urban and urban fringe areas.

“Investing in digital infrastructure is all part of our plan to make Australia a top 10 data and digital economy by 2030, helping to grow businesses and jobs, while also providing Australians with better access to essential services,” Morrison said in a statement.

Morrison visited the Queensland electorate of Longman today, alongside LNP local member Terry Young, to promote the Coalition’s commitment to voters living in so-called ‘urban fringe’ areas.

The new mobile sites in Longman will includes a Telstra site at the corner of Old N Road and Bellmere Road, and a new Telstra site and a new Optus site on Torrens Road in Caboolture South.

On top of $28.2 million, the PM also announced an additional $78.5 million under the Connecting Regional Australia initiative would go to other projects to fix mobile phone and connectivity issues in urban fringe areas.

“Our economic plan guarantees essential services, ensuring families have access to fast and reliable mobile services,” Morrison said.

“Supporting Australians living in our suburbs and particularly outer urban areas is a key part of our economic plan to create a stronger economy for a stronger future.”

Future funding to fix connectivity blackspots in other urban fringe areas will be made available if the government was returned to power, with an expansion planned for Geelong, Wollongong, Gosford, Newcastle, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Darwin and Canberra.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher noted that improving connectivity issues would help local communities seek help during emergencies or stay in touch with their families, while Regional Communications Minister Bridget McKenzie highlighted opportunities to lift productivity, capability and investment in these parts of Australia.

“The 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review identified outer urban areas as having many of the same coverage and connectivity issues as our regional areas — our investment will contribute to the local economy,” McKenzie said.

More than 1000 base stations have been built as part of the Coalition government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, with over 200 new bases still to be constructed.

This article was first published by The Mandarin.

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